One can now literally count down the days before Disney officially throws its hat into the video-on-demand streaming ring, after worrying the likes of Netflix and Amazon with its advance promotion for its exclusive service platform. Disney+ will boast a massive library of content from the mother studio itself, plus that of its major subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm. It will also feature new original programming only accessible with them, from live-action to animation, feature-length to regular series. But amazingly even as these streaming films and shows are raring to go, there have been some that are already cancelled before they even get viewed by audiences.
Case in point, as Comic Book Resources reports, Disney+ has preemptively axed a show under one of its other big-name subsidiaries. This is “Muppets Live Another Day,” a show ostensibly serving as a series sequel for the 1984 movie “Muppets Take Manhattan,” starring the Muppet characters created by Jim Henson for “Sesame Street,” but are now under the ownership of Muppet Studio, yet another Disney subsidiary. The live-action/puppetry show initially received an order to pilot for Disney+, but a spate of creative differences between the gathered writing team and the upper brass of Muppet Studio has torpedoed the project before formal production could even begin.
The original “Muppets Take Manhattan” film, directed by Muppet legend Frank Oz for Tri-Star Pictures and Henson Associates, had a few plot hooks that were left unresolved at the ending when Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were married (then). A formidable writing and executive producing team including Josh Gad, Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were supposed to work on the scripted comedy series for Disney+ when their direction ran into conflict with Muppet Studio. With the pilot order significantly delayed the yet-to-launch streaming service of the House of Mouse eventually decided to cancel it.
All is not lost in terms of representation for the Muppets, which has recently been one of the less-prominently utilized acquisitions of Disney, overshadowed as it is by Marvel and “Star Wars.” There is still the unscripted short variety series called “Muppets Now,” which will be a new contemporary reimagining of the memorable “Muppet Show” program that ran from 1976 to 1981. It is due to premiere on Disney+ sometime next year. All in all, the loss of “Muppets Live Another Day” on the streaming lineup is not so bad, but Disney looks to be wondering how best to slot in the Muppet property into their massive content offerings better.
Image from Entertainment Tonight Canada